The United Women’s Ball Hockey Foundation traveled to Nashville, TN for the NWHL All-Star weekend to spread the love of ball hockey with girls as part of the Play Like A Girl (PLAG) Leadership Summit sponsored by Bauer Hockey.
After a morning that had two panels of powerful female speakers, including Mary Kay Messier, Vice President of Marketing at Bauer Hockey, Hayley Moore, Deputy Commissioner of the NWHL, and Dani Rylan, NWHL Commissioner, along with NWHL players Blake Bolden, Shannon Doyle, and Lee Stecklein, staff from the UWBHF ran a 90 minute ball hockey clinic for the girls at the PLAG summit. Many of the girls are members of the Nashville Girls Ice Hockey team, however there were a few young girls brand new to the game of hockey.
The clinic was held at the Southeast Community Center, a short walk from the Ford Ice Center where the PLAG event was held. Bauer provided the sticks, nets, and balls while the Nashville Predators provided jerseys for the players. The clinic began focused on stickhandling with the girls learning to use the heel of their blade and roll their wrists over for more ball control. NWHL players Lee Stecklein and Shannon Doyle helped the yellow and black teams learn some new skills during the first few skills drills.
The rest of the afternoon was a series of small games in which the girls had to use their smarts and tenacity to adjust to new situations. For example, the girls played the 4, 3, 2, 1 Game and Add a Player both of which lead to an abundance of odd-player situations. By focusing on odd-player situations the girls were learning to keep their heads up and find the open player, which they had practiced a bit during the skills portion. The girls played hard, learned new skills, and exhibited great sportsmanship.
Nashville coaches Allie Lacombe and Kahlie Singletary noticed their girls engaging fully with the games, getting in a great workout, and learning some new skills.
UWBHF CEO Alessandra Glista thought the clinic was one powerful part of an amazing weekend. She also loved hearing the strong women on the panels sharing their experiences and showing how sports relate to their everyday life. These role models exhibited strength, wisdom, grace and perseverance in their panel answers and interactions with the PLAG young ladies.
The experience working with the young ladies of the future coupled with seeing the NWHL best in the skills competition and all star game made for an unforgettable weekend.
Since launching in 2015, the UWBHF has run 12 youth clinics with local communities to continue to grow the game of ball hockey. During those clinics we have learned a lot about introducing the game we love to young people. We have had the privilege of running clinics for youth that have never picked up a stick before to youth that grew up playing. This expertise led us to this tremendous opportunity with Bauer Hockey noticing the expertise we have gained and having us lead their youth skills clinic. A special thank you to Bauer Hockey for the opportunity, providing the materials for the clinic, and helping out during the day and clinic. Thank you to Lee Stecklein, Shannon Doyle, and the Bauer hockey team for helping out at the clinic. Thank you to the Bauer staff for coordinating the logistics of this great event.